DUBAI: The Ministry of Tourism, under the “Incredible India” banner, would be showcasing the immense tourism potential of the country – business, leisure and medical value travel during the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2018 being held from 22 – 25 April, 2018 in Dubai. More than 20 participants from India, representing the travel trade, diversity of Heritage, Nature, Culture and Wellness tourism are participating in the India Pavilion set up by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India at ATM – 2018.
India Pavilion has participants representing the State Tourism Departments of Kerala, Air India, Tour Operators, Travel Agents, Hoteliers/Resorts, Wellness, Spas and Ayurveda Centres, who would be showcasing innumerable tourism products of ‘Incredible India’
The theme chosen for ATM-2018 is “Adventure, Yoga & Wellness Tourism”. One of the highlights of the ‘Incredible India’ being showcased at ATM-2018 is the depiction of India as a multi- faceted tourist destination for Luxury, Wildlife, and Wellness / Medical Tourism. India has 36 World Heritage Sites which include historic monuments and natural wonders and are being promoted by the tour operators.
The Indian tourism outlook is very promising with an upswing in the growth of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India in the recent years. In 2017, India received 10.18 million FTAs with a growth rate of 15.6%. The Gulf and the Middle East region are an important market for India. There has been a consistent and positive growth of Foreign Tourist Arrivals from this region to India over the last 3 years with the year 2017 having registered an overall growth of around 10% over the previous year. The aim is to maintain the same pace of growth rate in international tourist arrivals over the next 3 years including Middle East through a multi-pronged approach, including proactive marketing strategies in partnership with our tourism stakeholders. Some of the countries, particularly the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Sultanate of Oman, Egypt, Turkey and Sudan have registered a significant growth and are emerging as major tourism generating markets for India from this region.
India has emerged as a Destination for Medical / Wellness Travel in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The percentage of Foreign Tourist Arrivals visiting India for Medical Treatment has been increasing over the years and growing rapidly since year 2000. India is poised to become a hub for medical tourism because of several factors viz. world class hospitals with latest technology; highly skilled Indian physicians and surgeons; cost effective treatment; excellent quality of care and nursing; less waiting time for availing of medical services; traditional healthcare therapies like Ayurveda & Yoga combined with allopathic treatment providing a holistic wellness destination.
India has a rich and diverse Natural, Cultural and Religious Heritage which provides a unique opportunity for tourism, from the architecture of India’s temples, palaces, forts, to the grandeur of its sculptures, and the beauty of its paintings, from mountaineering to meditation, yoga to white water rafting in the Ganges, Brahmaputra, or in any of India’s mighty rivers, all offer an unparalleled experience to the visitors. Seventy Three percent of the Himalayas are in India. The Indian
Himalayas are a complete destination in themselves and span across six states of India namely, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and the hill regions of West Bengal To improve infrastructural facilities in the country, the Ministry of Tourism has launched a new scheme for the integrated development of thematic circuits.
The Ministry of Tourism has also taken the initiative of identifying, diversifying, developing and promoting nascent / upcoming niche tourism products viz. Golf Tourism, Adventure, MICE & Cruise Tourism. India’s advantage in respect of promoting cruise tourism is the long coastline from Gujarat to West Bengal and strong positioning of ports that has natural advantage to the country in attracting international cruise liners. Another advantage for India is its proximity to already popular cruise destinations in the South Asian region. There is enormous potential in the country to develop cruise tourism, both international and domestic and the Ministry of Tourism is making all efforts to promote this segment by developing required world class cruise infrastructure. With the aim to promote India as a year-round destination, attract tourists with varied interests and ensure repeat visits, it was recently decided to do away with biometrics for evisa passengers at the sea ports to ensure that passenger movement out of the ship is expedited.
To promote Adventure Tourism to India and to create awareness about the varied adventure options available, the Ministry of Tourism has decided to celebrate the year, 2018 as ‘The Year of Adventure Tourism’. Dramatic Himalayan landscapes in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, each dissected by raging rivers, provide the perfect geography for adventure sport such as white water rafting, rock climbing, skiing, low and high altitude trekking, canyoning and paragliding and horse polo, and water sports such as scuba diving, parasailing, kayaking and canoeing in Kerala, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Lakshadweep and Andamans.
One of the regions in focus is the North Eastern region of India which comprises the eight States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. Promotion of tourism of the North Eastern States of India with its rich and diverse tourism products viz. a variety of attractive flora and fauna and also home to the unique Asian one horned Rhino, is being given special emphasis. This area is also becoming popular with tourists for River Cruises. The rich natural beauty, serene landscapes and rare flora and fauna are the main attractions in these areas.
The Ministry of Tourism promotional website is available in Arabic, Chinese (simplified), French, German, Japanese, Korean, Russian and Spanish languages. Other IT related initiatives include availability of guided, multimedia and interactive walking tours. The Ministry of Tourism is also active on Social Media with its own popular Face book, Google Plus pages, YouTube channel and Twitter handles, Instagram, Pinterest, Vimeo, Periscope and Linkedin.
One of the priorities of the Government of India is the Safety and Security of both Domestic as well as International Tourists travelling in India and accordingly, several measures have been taken in this regard. The launch of a 24×7 Toll Free Tourist Helpline in 12 International languages including German is a big step in this direction. This Helpline is available on the existing Toll Free Number 1800111363 or on a short code 1363 for dialling in India. Ministry of Tourism has also taken steps to sensitize drivers, guides and other stakeholders to highlight the theme of ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ which means ‘Guest is God’.
The Government of India has taken path breaking initiative to liberalise the Visa Regime by providing easy access to visitors to the country in the form of e-Tourist Visa (e-TV) which was launched in November 2014. The e-Tourist Visa facility, now extended to 163 countries (including Jordan, Oman, Palestine & UAE), has led to the ease of travel to India. News Desk